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Olympic park visitors down 24 percent in shutdown

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 3, 2014 at 4:29 pm •  Published: March 3, 2014

SEATTLE (AP) — The average number of visitors to Olympic National Park dropped 24 percent during the government shutdown last October, according to a National Park Service report released Monday.

The 16-day partial government shutdown resulted in about 42,000 fewer visitors to the park on Washington's Olympic Peninsula. The park saw 134,726 visitors in October 2013, down from the three-year October average of 177,431 between 2010 and 2012, the analysis showed.

That resulted in a loss of about $3.4 million in visitor spending in communities that surround the parks.

A separate National Park Service report released Monday found that national parks across the country served as an economic engine for neighboring communities near the park, where people buy food, eat at restaurants, get gas or find lodging.

In Washington state, 7.5 million people who visited national park lands spent a total of about $419 million in 2012.

At Olympic National Park, about 2.8 million visitors in 2012 spent $220 million in lodging, food, recreations and other areas. The spending supported about 5,100 jobs in communities surrounding the parks.

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